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Vice-presidential role for Ellon farmer as NFU Scotland elects its new president

By David Porter

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Perthshire farmer Martin Kennedy has been elected the 63rd President of NFU Scotland. Mr Kennedy, who has been a vice-president at the Union since 2017, now takes over one of the top jobs in Scottish agriculture.

Vice-president Andrew Connon
Vice-president Andrew Connon

Andrew Connon and Robin Traquair are the Union’s new Vice Presidents.

In the vote, taken at the Union’s virtual council meeting in Glasgow, Mr Kennedy was elected unopposed to the presidential spot. Mr Connon and Mr Traquair were elected after a keenly fought vice-presidential contest which saw them run against Willie Harper and George Milne.

The presidential position will be held by Mr Kennedy for two years and a president can serve a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms. Under the terms of the constitution, Mr Connon and Mr Traquair, being elected to the position of vice-president for the first time, will initially serve for two years before the post reverts to an annual election.

After the election, NFU Scotland’s new president Mr Kennedy commented: “It goes without saying that it is indeed a great honour to be elected President of NFU Scotland. This is a role I recognise carries a huge responsibility to represent all our members in all sectors of farming and crofting throughout Scotland.

“Without question we will have some real challenges ahead as we strive to meet not only climate change and environmental targets, but also at the same time continue to carry out our fundamental role of food production.

“I see these challenges as opportunities, and provided we implement a positive future agricultural policy, one that’s right for Scotland, then we can create a profitable industry that’s the envy of many across the globe.”

Mr Kennedy went on to pay tribute to the many people he has worked with during his four years as vice-president, particularly the outgoing president Andrew McCornick and Charlie Adam, who stepped down as vice-president and a ten-year spell on the Union’s board.

He also welcomed all those who have now stepped up to represent the membership on the new board, including his new vice-presidents Andrew Connon and Robin Traquair.

Mr Connon lives with his wife Pauline, son Andrew (22) and daughter Sarah (18).

They run a small commercial sheep flock. Andrew was brought up on the neighbouring farm of South Quilquox - part of the family business of A M Connon & Sons, Skilmafilly, Auchnagatt still run by his father, two uncles and cousin.

After graduating from Aberdeen University with a Hons Degree in General Agriculture he joined Velcourt as a trainee farm manager in south-east England before returning to a farm management position in Aberdeenshire.

He then embarked on a commercial career in agricultural finance with NWS Bank and then JCB Finance.

In 1999 he joined the family-owned machinery business of A M Phillip initially as a Branch Manager before becoming a Director and latterly Dealer Principal until the business was sold in 2018.

The past two years, Andrew has been working with Hectare Agritech Ltd which runs the online marketplaces SellMyLivestock and Graindex.

He completed the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Course in 2010.

In his youth he was heavily involved in Young Farmers.

Currently he is Secretary of Methlick Farmers Ball and is a member of Ythanside Farmers Club and Discussion Group.

He has been a member of NFUS for 20 years with New Deer Branch and is a former Branch Chairman.

He has been on the Regional Board for several years having been elected a Vice Chairman of the Region in 2017 before taking on the North East Regional Chairman Role in Jan 2020.

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